Monday, August 12, 2019

News: The changing face of Rotherham's High Street


Expanding businesses and new traders with a focus on niche and leisure offers have boosted the vitality of Rotherham's High Street but one current occupant is contemplating the future of retail and possibly taking the business online only.

This month has seen Entertainment Station, The Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective and The Three Cranes Inn take space in the regenerated heritage area. This follows on from Guests Tea Rooms opening up and Cutthroats Barbershop expanding onto the High Street. Another new bar, Sports Box, is due to open at the top of the street next week.

Rothbiz reported in February that Hamby's shoe shop and antique centre would close with well known retailer and regeneration spearhead, Chris Hamby taking a step back.

Inside the former Mason's Jewellers, Emily Dawson has expanded her quirky tattoo studio offering fully custom designs drawn by each artist on the team in their own individual style.

A key part of the town centre masterplan focuses on leisure (along with housing) rather than retail to breathe new life into the centre.

And at 25 and 27 on the High Street, which includes a timber framed building dating back to the 15th Century, the property has been converted back into a pub.

It is thought to have closed as a pub in 1907 and half of the building was demolished in 1953 leaving a twin-gabled fa├žade for retail units on the ground floor. Saved from being lost forever, the new venue serves cask and craft beers, ciders and ales.

The owners said on Facebook: "Thank you to all our customers for a fantastic opening day/weekend, we couldn't get over how busy we were, we are very grateful and hope to see you again soon."


Moving across town from Riverside precinct, Entertainment Station has taken 8 High Street and reported a busy first day in its new location where it has created a hub for fans to buy, sell and swap retro and modern video games, as well as meet with friends and fellow gamers. The ethos is not unlike national retailer, Warhammer, which opened a few doors up last year.

One current High Street store led the way for new, independent retailers when it opened ten years ago as the first retailer to move into a unit in the refurbished Grade II-listed Imperial Buildings. Yella Brick Road, and its "brother" store, Things That Boys Like, have since expanded and merged to take key retail space on the High Street.

Owners Chris and Dannii Paston said last week that they were setting a date of the start of 2020 to make a decision whether to continue to trade in Rotherham town centre, or take the businesses online alone.

Their post on Facebook reads: "It may... just may be time for a change. It's not been the easiest time to trade in the last couple of years, and high street retail has changed dramatically since we opened all those many years ago. We're still here of course, but it's a bit of a slog! We're lucky to have an incredible landlord, wonderful staff and a large number of fantastic regulars.

"We want to have a physical shop with a high street address. We don't want to simply be gigabytes and a URL. So we'll not go down without a fight. We'll try many many things before we shut our doors for the last time. And if we do go elsewhere, we'll still love the high street and have faith in our fellow Rotherham town centre retailers, but for Yella Brick Road and Things That Boys Like, it may be time for a change, whether it be temporary or permanent."

Entertainment Station
Holy Ghost Tattoo Collective
Three Cranes Inn
Guests Tea Rooms
Cutthroats Barbershop
Sports Box
Things That Boys Like

Images: Google Maps / Three Cranes Inn / Yella Brick Road


M Benson,  August 12, 2019 at 4:35 PM  

It would be a great shame to lose two good retail businesses from the High Street. Let's hope that the newcomers will generate footfall that will ensure that the true retail element - especially those businesses that have been part of Rotherham since the regeneration - remains.

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